"Never say never again" appears to be the motto for Paramount Pictures and Tom Cruise.
After their famous breakup after Cruise's bizarre celebrity antics during the press tour for "Mission Impossible 3" the studio (and Viacom too) swore off the aging superstar an let him plant at United Artists (and that hasn't been the biggest success story). Rumors had already leaked that J.J. Abrams, the director of the third installment, and Cruise were considering reuniting to produce a fourth Ethan Hunt movie, but today those grumblings became reality. Variety reports Paramount has brought on former "Alias" co-executive producers Josh Applebaum and Andrew Nemec to write the screenplay for "MI4."
The script will be based on a storyline developed by the duo and Abrams. The more intriguing news is that its been confirmed by the trade that Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt, will be involved "onscreen in some capacity" in the new movie. That means Cruise will return to the billion-dollar "Mission Impossible" franchise and star in a Paramount Pictures release under the same studio chief, Brad Grey, who dramatically let him go only a few years ago.
This is crazy Hollywood history folks.
It's unclear what lead to this change, but one has to assume Abrams influence as a hit maker for the studio after producing "Cloverfield" and directing "Star Trek" must have been involved at some level.
Applebaum and Nemec have a new series on ABC this fall, "Happy Town," and previously spearheaded "October Road" and "Life on Mars."
No word on when the studio plans to move forward with "Mission Impossible 4" or who will direct. Cruise's next picture will be the untitled James Mangold romantic comedy he's shooting this fall for Fox. Abrams is developing a "Star Trek" sequel, but has not committed to direct it at this time.